Stay on top of your snag list
Query: We are about to close the sale of our home in a new development and have been advised to prepare a snag list. What is a snag list and do we need to engage an architect?
Buying a new home can be a very exciting time. However, it is important to remember that getting good professional advice on all aspects of the house purchase - such as from architects, solicitors and surveyors - can make the whole process run very smoothly.
What is a Snag List?
Generally, a snag list is compiled at the end of a building project and is essentially a 'defects' list where faults can be noted, a fully comprehensive list of items which builders and developers have not totally or finally completed on the property or which do not meet satisfactory standards. It will include items of work that may be defective, do not meet building regulations, or are not to a finished standard and condition that a prospective purchaser should expect when purchasing a new property.
Buying a new house might well be the biggest investment you make and you want to be sure that everything has been constructed correctly and built to all required standards in order to protect your investment.
What is covered by a Snag List?
Don't under-estimate the importance of a snag list - it's much more difficult to get defects addressed once you have taken ownership of your new home and realise that a door doesn't close or the upstairs toilet won't flush and needs to be fixed.
It's far better to get everything sorted before you finally sign contracts, pay over your money and you still have some leverage. However, some defects only show up over time so ensure that this possibility is covered in your contract and discuss how your snag list will be dealt with early on in your dealings with your builder.
Snag items can vary from scratches on counter tops to badly plastered and painted walls or ceilings to internal or external cracks or uneven brickwork walling. Services such as heating, gas, electricity and water should also be tested. It can also cover exterior aspects of your property such as garden paths, driveway, landscaping and boundaries.
Another reason it is always worth getting a snag list drawn up for any new property, whether it's the last one built in the development or the first, is because sometimes the first house, particularly the show house, may have been built in a rush and is then patched up quickly for use by the builder or developer.
When the snag list has been carried out and compiled by the 'snagger' (the person doing the snag list), it is furnished to the purchaser and/or directly to the builder or developer, who should complete all the listed items prior to finalising the purchase contracts documents.
It is preferable and recommended to engage a registered architect to check and complete your snag list, as they have the training and experience necessary.
If you are considering purchasing a new home and require the services of an architect to carry out a snag list, you can find a registered architect on riai.ie; the registration body for architects in Ireland.
Peter Andrews is a registered architect, a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland and a partner in private practice based in Dublin.
- Do you have a design dilemma we can help you with? Email your problem to firstname.lastname@example.org. Advice provided is for guidance only and readers are advised to seek professional assistance for any proposed project.